Mayor Bloomberg Gives Press Conference at Empire State Building on Shooting

 @jiillx
on August 24 2012 12:07 PM

At about 11:21 a.m. on Friday Mayor Michael Bloomberg staged a press conference outside of the Empire State Building, to release information about the details of the tragic shooting that killed two people, including the gunman, and wounded at least eight others.

Bloomberg, who called the shooting a "terrible tragedy," emphasized that the shooting was the result of a workplace dispute between coworkers at a local business and had "nothing to do with terrorism."

Bloomberg, who arrived on the scene with Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, Chief Joe Esposito, and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, identified the shooter for the first time as Manhattan resident Jeffrey Johnson, 53.

Johnson formerly designed women's accessories for Hazan Import Corporation, but was laid off last year, due to company downsizing. He returned to the business today, at 10 West 33rd Street, and then shot the manager in the head at close range with a 45 caliber handgun on the sidewalk at around 9 a.m.

Bloomberg revealed that the victim was 41 years old, but said that the police were withholding his identity until the victim's family had been notified.

After fleeing the scene, Johnson was followed by a local construction worker, who alerted two police officers who Bloomberg said were stationed nearby "on their usual counter terrorism assignments."

"As the two officers approached Johnson he pulled his 45 caliber semiautomatic pistol," said Bloomberg. "[They] returned fire killing him." Bloomberg clarified that it was unclear from the tape whether or not Johnson got off any bullets before he was shot, but that the footage clearly showed him pulling out his weapon.

At least 9 other people were also shot in the scuffle, 7 men and 2 women, and all are currently in the hospital. Some may have been accidentally by the police, but Bloomberg said there is "no expectation that any of them will do anything other than recover quickly."

Police Commissioner Kelly added that no children or elderly people had been shot. When asked about the gunman's background, Bloomberg said that he had did not appear to have a criminal record as far as they police had found, but he emphasized that they were only in the preliminary stages of an ongoing investigation.

"New York City is the safest big city," said Bloomberg in his statement, adding carefully, "but we are not immune to the national problem of gun violence." He went on to praise the "heroic" efforts of the police for responding immediately, adding that they were aided by a number of local civilians.

The area around empire state building remains an active crime scene, and will continue to be blocked off for the foreseeable future.

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